In If Boys Will Be Boys Part Two I spoke about how subscribing to this mantra can result in women harbouring some very dangerous and destructive beliefs about themselves, their worth, their value, and their place in society.
In Part Three I want to discuss the dangerous beliefs a man might adopt by aligning with the boys will be boys mentality.
You only have to watch the news once a week to see the absolute danger boys will be boys is having not only in Australia but around the world.
Just last week in a rape trial in Ireland it was argued that the 17 year old alleged victim was wearing a lacy thong, therefore the sex was consensual.
And there it is. The ultimate dangerous belief.
That what a woman wears is indicative of consent.
Her voice does not matter, in fact it is null and void in this case. No need to get verbal consent, she’s wearing underwear that is perceived as sexual in nature therefore it concludes that she wants sex, at any time with any man.
It makes my blood boil. The absolute ridiculous nature of the argument. But it isn’t just ridiculous it is frightening. And these attitudes are running rife within our culture today.
In this diseased patriarchal society a woman’s body is not her own. A woman’s body belongs to a man. And so if a woman is wearing revealing clothing, then she is tempting man and it is not man’s fault if he succumbs to these temptations.
How often to we here of sexual assaults and rapes being reported?
And how many times are the victims blamed?
She was drunk.
What was she doing there alone with him if she didn’t want to have sex?
She was flirting with him all night.
She was wearing a really skimpy dress and showing off her cleavage.
She was asking for it.
And we are teaching boys that this behaviour is okay. And so they grow into men with these very dangerous beliefs.
The most unfathomable dangerous belief is that men don’t even realise they need to ask for consent.
If boys will be boys, they will grow into men that see women only in relation to themselves.
Think about it for a moment, we teach men all their lives that they’re the superior sex. They are stronger, faster, better.
We teach them not to cry or show emotion, a man is masculine, it is the feminine that is weak and fragile, and needs taking care of.
We think this is the right thing to do, that we are teaching our boys to grow into strong men but all it is doing is pushing them into toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity believes women are of lesser value and so the man’s needs trumps the woman’s.
Look at the media. How else are women portrayed but sexual. They are sexualised for men’s amusement and satisfaction. Therefore if he sees a woman dressed in this same manner he immediately registers that as a conscious choice for him. ‘She is dressed like that because she wants to have sex with me.’
NO. She is dressed like that because she is a human being in her own right who has the freedom to choose what clothing she puts on her body.
It has absolutely nothing to do with a man. And even if it did, even if she thought, hmm I might like to wear this sexy underwear for my boyfriend tonight, YOU DON’T KNOW THAT and you still need consent. NO MATTER WHAT, CONSENT IS ALWAYS NEEDED AND CAN NEVER BE ASSUMED. IF YOU ARE ASSUMING CONSENT, IT IS RAPE.
A lacy g-string is not consent.
Clothing is not consent.
Flirting is not consent.
Dancing is not consent.
Being intoxicated is not consent.
Coercing her is not consent.
Even the Australian Prime Minister overtly subscribes to the destructive boys will be boys mentality. When asked if he would respond to Baywatch Star Pamela Anderson’s plea to assist WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, he stated on commercial radio: “Well no, first of all, but next, I’ve had plenty of mates who’ve asked me if they can be my special envoy to sort the issue out with Pamela Anderson.”
The leader of our country has the dangerous belief that since men see Pamela Anderson as a sex symbol then she is nothing more than a woman that needs sorting out by him and his mates. Sorting out. What do you think he was implying? Of course we know its sexual. But we just chuckle and let it go. I mean sure he’s the prime minister, but c’mon boys will be boys.
I’m not laughing. I am shaking. Shaking with fury. I am livid. Enough is enough. Time IS up. Women are rising. They are standing up. They are regaining their power and reclaiming their voice.
But are we listening?
Men are you listening?
Prime Minister are you listening?
Leaders are you listening?
NO YOU ARE NOT. YOU CAN’T BE BECAUSE IF YOU WERE THINGS WOULD BE CHANGING FOR THE BETTER BUT THEY ARE ONLY GETTING WORSE.
As I write this the number of women killed at the hands of a man has now risen to 72. When I write the second installment of this post the number was 56. That was just 14 days ago.
Boys will be boys leads to men who harrass, violate, abuse, assault, rape, and murder women.
IT HAS TO STOP.
The story that disturbed me the most in this past fortnight was that of domestic violence victim “Elizabeth”. She feared for her life. She took her children and fled. Knowing that if he ever found her he would kill her.
Elizabeth found text messages on an old cell phone between her ex-husband and a friend of his, a queensland police officer, revealing her new address.
“Just tell her you know it now through freedom of information”
“She’ll be pissed”
“Hahaha she sure will”
“Even better just tell her you know where she lives and leave it at that. She will flip.”
This. from a police officer. A man that is supposed to protect.
Not only condoning domestic violence but actually severely trivialising it and even laughing about it.
Watch the piece from journalist Hamish Macdonald from The Project.
Your blood will turn to ice. It is beyond disturbing. It’s downright terrifying. Then put yourself in Elizabeth’s shoes.
Elizabeth went to police to ask for help in keeping safe from her violent ex partner.
Instead they dismissed and belittled her. They put her life in danger. All because of their beliefs. All because Elizabeth’s voice did not matter.
Listen to the recorded phone call. The police officer she speaks with says she is “harassing” the police over her “petty” domestic violence issue.
And this is the crux of it.
We cannot protect our women if we do not first dismantle and destruct these pervasive and insidious dangerous beliefs.
Men in positions of power holding the dangerous belief that women are nothing but annoying time wasters and that domestic violence is just their petty issue.
As a woman who grew up in a home of domestic violence hearing this from the very people you are supposed to be able to seek help, refuge and support from, I am stricken.
I am stricken with sadness.
I am stricken with anger,
I am stricken with shame,
I am stricken with fear,
I am stricken with frustration.
I am stricken with fury.
Sadness that this is one story of hundreds.
Anger that this behaviour even exists.
Shame that this is where we hold our women within society. Their lives are worth nothing. Their voices, even less.
Fear that things will never change.
Frustration that this has gone on for far too long.
And fury. Oh the fury. That the patriarchy feared us so much they burned our bodies and called us witches and shunned our intuitive nature as wickedness and this is where we ended up?!
Fury that when we roar, they cower and say “what about me? What about the men?”
Fury that they cannot see the toxicity within themselves.
Fury they do not have the courage to change.
Fury that our women are suffering because of it.
Fury that no one is really listening.
But they will.
I will continue. I will not stop.
You will hear me.
YOU WILL HEAR US ALL.
Rape Trial via Irish News
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comments via ABC News
Domestic Violence Case via The Project (The piece is at 22 minutes in).